MORE than 500 people have signed a petition calling on the authorities to keep Cirencester Hospital’s minor injuries unit open 24 hours a day.

A review will today be officially launched to see what cost cutting measures can be put in place at the unit to help plug a £600,000 funding gap in the county’s NHS.

Many fear the review will leave the struggling unit with no choice but to close overnight, forcing patients to journey to Swindon or Gloucester.

Staffing issues have meant the unit has had to close its doors scores of time over the past six months.

In just a few hours more than 500 people signed Cirencester councillor Joe Harris’ petition calling on NHS bosses to keep the hospital open.

On the petition, Cllr Harris writes: “One of the NHS' founding principles is that healthcare is accountable to the public, communities and patients. Our community now needs to show that this is a vital service to our community that should be kept.

“Please support my campaign to keep Cirencester MIU open overnight in order to continue the excellent service provided to the 20,000 residents in Cirencester and the local area.”

To sign the petition, go to: